An applicant tracking system is a piece of online recruitment software which allows you to create a careers website with your current vacancies on.
Job seekers are simply directed to that careers page from wherever you advertise your vacancies (typically job boards) where the potential candidate can view full details of the role, then apply by uploading their cv. It's really a job application management system.
You, the recruiter, is issued with a password to login to the back office (only you can get in) where you can view the candidate's application using all the tools offered to track and manage the candidate's application all the way through to offers being made and references collected. Here's an example of a list of jobs in the back office from our demo site:
Companies/organisations use an applicant tracking system mainly because of the massive time savings that it will generate. The traditional method of handling applications via email but this creates an administrative nightmare if you're recruiting more than a couple of vacancies.
In addition, a good applicant tracking system will allow you to build a database of candidates you can store for future use i.e. when you're hiring in the future, you can contact previous applicants and hire them for free, greatly reducing your cost per hire.
Increasingly the market for online recruitment software is moving towards a different model where the product is given away free of charge. iKrut is the world's first free applicant tracking system with enterprise levels of functionality. This is not some cut down version of a bigger system or some very basic online recruitment software which is little more than an online repository of applications, iKrut has the sort of functionality you would pay a large annual license fees for but iKrut is a free ATS and always will be.
Just free recruitment software.